Daryl Weber Of Bedfellow: “Clarity is king”

Clarity is king. Brands often try to get too cute, at the expense of being clear. Consumers are paying very little attention to your brand (remember, they don’t really care), and so will not try to figure out something that is not obvious. Personality is great and can differentiate your brand, but you must make […]

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Clarity is king. Brands often try to get too cute, at the expense of being clear. Consumers are paying very little attention to your brand (remember, they don’t really care), and so will not try to figure out something that is not obvious. Personality is great and can differentiate your brand, but you must make sure your offering and the value you provide are super clear first.


As a part of our series about business leaders who are shaking things up in their industry, I had the pleasure of interviewing Daryl Weber.

Daryl Weber is a brand consultant, speaker, and entrepreneur whose work has influenced many of the best brands in the world, including Coca-Cola, Nike, Johnnie Walker, Gatorade, Old Spice, and many more. He is the author of Brand Seduction: How Neuroscience Can Help Marketers Build Memorable Brands which explores the unconscious side of brands in a way that’s inspiring for creative marketers. Previously, Daryl was Global Director of Creative Strategy at The Coca-Cola Company, where he oversaw brand strategy for many of the company’s global billion-dollar brands. Prior to that, he was a Director of Strategy at Redscout — a boutique brand and innovation consultancy where he advised Fortune 500 companies on new product innovation and brand positioning.

Daryl is in the process of launching Bedfellow — a modern sleepwear brand for men.

Daryl has a BA in psychology from Columbia University and resides in New York with his wife and two sons. Learn more at www.daryl-weber.com and follow him on Twitter @BrandedCortex.


Thank you so much for doing this with us! Before we dig in, our readers would like to get to know you a bit more. Can you tell us a bit about your “backstory”? What led you to this particular career path?

I started out working in advertising, at Saatchi & Saatchi. I then moved on to brand strategy consulting for brands like Nike, Ketel One, Gatorade, and many more. I then went client side to work at Coca-Cola in Atlanta. I’ve always been fascinated by how the brain works, and left to write a book about the psychology of brands called Brand Seduction.

But I always had an itch to start my own brand.

Can you tell our readers what it is about the work you’re doing that’s disruptive?

I had an epiphany one night when changing for bed. I was choosing which pair of old boxers and old ratty t-shirt to wear to bed. I started thinking about how the pajama category for men was stuck in the past — nothing but old school button down suit pajamas, and hot flannels. I thought with all the great fabrics and materials that are being used these days in underwear, athleticwear, athleisure, and more, that there should be a brand that was making modern, stylish clothes that were designed to give a great night’s sleep. I’m also very interested in the science of sleep, and how important it is for so much of life — from immunity, cognitive function, mental health, weight loss and more…sleep is really the wonder drug we’re all looking for. But it seems people don’t respect their sleep — they barely get enough, and sleep in whatever old clothes they have. So along with my partner, we decided to disrupt the sleepwear category by creating Bedfellow, modern sleepwear for men.

Can you share a story about the funniest mistake you made when you were first starting? Can you tell us what lesson you learned from that?

There have been many, and I’m still making them! But that’s to be expected, especially when creating something new. One mistake I made was not properly forecasting and planning our first inventory. We ended up with way too many of one shirt, and not nearly enough of our shorts that have been selling well. We now think long and hard about planning our inventory, although forecasting is still very much a guessing game.

We all need a little help along the journey. Who have been some of your mentors? Can you share a story about how they made an impact?

I’ve been able to have conversations with other apparel entrepreneurs and leaders, who have given me great advice on the typical pitfalls that many in the industry face. They have helped with everything from learning the regulatory codes, to planning product details, finding manufacturers, and more.

In today’s parlance, being disruptive is usually a positive adjective. But is disrupting always good? When do we say the converse, that a system or structure has ‘withstood the test of time’? Can you articulate to our readers when disrupting an industry is positive, and when disrupting an industry is ‘not so positive’? Can you share some examples of what you mean?

Not everything needs to be disrupted. Some products and brands have been around a long time for a reason — they’re good products that people like. The brand may feel old and stale, and a new brand can come and refresh the category, but that doesn’t always mean they’ve actually made the product better. We recently bought a new cool brand of supposedly “non-stick” pans that had very cool branding, only to find out that the pans were very sticky, and way worse than our classic pans we’ve had for years.

Can you share 3 of the best words of advice you’ve gotten along your journey? Please give a story or example for each.

Listen to your customers, but follow your own vision. If you talk to enough people, you’ll hear every piece of feedback imaginable, much of which will contradict each other. You do need to hear how your customers react to your products so you can improve them and market them better, but you need to balance that with your guiding vision for the brand.

People don’t care about your brand. Marketers tend to see their brand as far more important than consumers do. We have to think from their perspective, and show how our brands can actually fit into their lives.

Clarity is king. Brands often try to get too cute, at the expense of being clear. Consumers are paying very little attention to your brand (remember, they don’t really care), and so will not try to figure out something that is not obvious. Personality is great and can differentiate your brand, but you must make sure your offering and the value you provide are super clear first.

We are sure you aren’t done. How are you going to shake things up next?

We’ve only just launched Bedfellow, so we’re still focused on growing the brand. We want to grow the brand’s offering into other sleep-related products, like sleep socks, and even going farther with things like sleep meditations, sleep yoga, and more.

Do you have a book, podcast, or talk that’s had a deep impact on your thinking? Can you share a story with us? Can you explain why it was so resonant with you?

Probably Purple Cow by Seth Godin. He makes the point that new brands need to be remarkable — they should stand out and be worth talking about. The world doesn’t need another copycat brand or product, so focus on what makes you different.

Can you please give us your favorite “Life Lesson Quote”? Can you share how that was relevant to you in your life?

Give more than you take.

I believe that providing real value to consumers is the key. As the author Adam Grant says, “the most meaningful way to succeed is to help others succeed.” If you’re helping your customers, they’ll become loyal customers, they’ll tell their friends, and they’ll want to do business with you.

You are a person of great influence. If you could inspire a movement that would bring the most amount of good to the most amount of people, what would that be? You never know what your idea can trigger. 🙂

I think the single most important thing we should be focusing on as a society is climate change. We should be working together — countries, governments, politicians, companies, and everyday people — to make real change. We’re destroying our planet, and can’t keep ignoring it or pushing it off. We’re already seeing droughts, huge storms, wildfires, famines, floods, and more that will cause major catastrophe. Anyone who has influence should be pushing this from the grassroots on up, so that we can literally save our planet.

How can our readers follow you online?

On Instagram @bedfellowdreams

https://darylweber.medium.com/

This was very inspiring. Thank you so much for joining us!

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